What is Associationism/meaning/concept

Associationism is a current of psychology that started in the United Kingdom in the 19th century. However, empiricist philosophers of the 17th and 17th centuries had already laid the foundations for this current. Philosophers like Locke and Hume, as well as psychologists like Skinner and Pavlov are some of the greatest exponents of associationism.

General ideas about associationist theory

The mind has its own rules of operation and all of them can be expressed in one idea: our ability to reflect is based on some kind of mental association. Associationism

There is some kind of connection between different ideas created by the mind. In this sense, there are different connections:

1) similarity (we mentally unite similar impressions and ideas);

2) contiguity (we connect distinct elements in a temporary or spatial way); Associationism

3) the cause-effect (our mind connects ideas from the necessary relationship between a cause and its effect).

Pavlov’s classical conditioning and Skinner’s operant conditioning

Russian psychologist Pavlov observed that a dog salivated when offered meat. The meat offering was accompanied by the sound of a bell that initially did not offer any reaction to the dogs. However, the tinkling of the bell generated salivation in the dog even without the presence of meat. This experience allowed for a better understanding of certain human behaviors, such as how babies learn when they see a bottle and associate it with their food. Associationism

Pavlov demonstrated that a neutral stimulus can activate our mind to create a connection or association between ideas. A dog’s innate reflex can be altered by having the dog create its own association between a neutral stimulus and a physiological response. This learning process can explain many learned and automatic reactions of human beings. Associationism

Another type of associative learning is Skinner’s operant conditioning.

To demonstrate the mental activity that takes place in this process, Skinner introduced a hungry rat into a cage and learned to push a mechanical lever, as each time he did this he was rewarded with some food. In this way, a behavior pattern can be reinforced if it is associated with a particular reward. Associationism

The principles of classical and operant conditioning not only explain how the human mind works, but society as a whole. In this way, the associationist approaches of both psychologists allowed to establish strategies in any type of area: in education , in therapeutic treatments, in marketing techniques or in the proposals chosen in the political sphere . Associationism

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